Mid-markets in brief

  • Lion Capital, the UK-based private equity outfit formerly part of Muse Tate & Furst, has agreed to acquire La Senza, a British retailer of women’s lingerie and nightwear. La Senza employs over 1,800 staff which generated £94m of turnover in the most recent fiscal year. The transaction is not large by Lion Capital standards. In June 2006, Lion Capital agreed to acquire American Safety Razor Co, a manufacturer and wholesaler of blades and razors, from JW Childs Equity Partners. For US$625m in cash. Theo Paphitis, controlling shareholder of La Senza, said: “La Senza is probably the most exciting and vibrant business I have been involved in.” No mean feat, bearing in mind that Paphitis is chairman of London’s Millwall football club.
  • Montagu Private Equity has sold a 69% stake in Volution to ABN AMRO Capital for a reported £160m. The company’s management will invest alongside ABN AMRO with RBS providing the senior, second lien and mezzanine debt. Volution’s largest operation is ventilation business Vent-Axia. The rest of the business comprises a cable management division which produces brands such as Kopex and Adaptaflex.
  • Barclays Private Equity France has sold Interflora to 21 Centrale Partners. 21 Centrale Partners, led by Gerard Pluvinet and Alessandro Benetton, organized a management buyout of the Societe Francaise de Transmissions flores (SFTF), owner of Interflora brand France, Monaco and the Overseas territories. Centrale hold 75% of the shares alongside the current managers.
  • Pragma Capital has agreed to acquire SNAAM for just above €100m. SNAAM is the French tailor made metallic reinforcement products manufacturer for the concrete building and construction industry, based in Lyon. The ale is being structured as an OBO (ownership buyout) around existing investor Gildas COLLON and the management team (31%) and Pragma Capital (53%).

This follows earlier news that French investment company Eurazeo is reportedly planning to sell its UK commercial vehicle rental business Fraikin .

Eurazeo, along with Pragma Capital, then joint venture between Credit Agricole and Credit Lyonnais, along with Credit Agricole unit U.I bought Fraikin from Italy’s Fiat in 2003 for €805m (US$848m).

At the end of last year, Fraikin bought and bolted on the rental division of Transfleet and in early 2006 it acquired France’s Locafroid. The combined business has revenues of €756m, with a fleet of 53,000 vehicles. In March Eurazeo bought Volkswagon’s car hire group Europcar for €3.32bn. The sale of Eurazeo is expected to raise about €2bn.